Dr BP Thurston MA, MSt, DPhil
Benjamin Thurston came to Charterhouse in 2003 as Head of Modern Languages. He was educated at Stamford School and Brasenose College, Oxford, where he was awarded a First in French and German. After two years in the City he returned to Oxford to write a thesis on the work of the Savoyard philosopher Joseph de Maistre. Benjamin has spent several years living in France and completed a post-doctoral research project at the Sorbonne before joining Charterhouse. He is married to Catherine and they have two young children. His interests include rugby, cross-country running, and nineteenth-century German philosophy.
Benjamin has been Housemaster of Girdlestoneites since 2007.
Dr BP Thurston
Telephone: +44 (0)1483 291540
Who We Are and What We Do
Duckites are typically enthusiastic and hard-working boys and girls who seize the many opportunities afforded them by life in such a prestigious and successful boarding house. Academic work is always our priority, but Girdlestoneites (known as Duckites) are tremendously busy in all areas of school life, and this gives the House a distinctive spirit of energy and endeavour. The House is an inclusive and cosmopolitan environment, with a strong corporate identity.
I am keen to foster a diverse and tolerant community of boys and girls for whom the idea of education extends beyond the classroom and into the normal pattern of their daily lives. One of our cardinal aims is to promote a culture of self-motivated intellectual enquiry and critical debate, where due respect is given to academic excellence. All Duckites are expected to enjoy reading for pleasure in their spare time and to contribute to the cultural richness of the House. Scholarly endeavour is, however, regarded as a complement, rather than an alternative, to full participation in extra-curricular activities. The House has recently enjoyed a strong reputation in football, hockey, cross-country-running, art, chess, and music.
The boys and girls in Duckites are expected to co-operate fully and constructively in the running of the House and to abide by the rules laid out in the House Handbook. At the heart of who we are and what we do is a simple maxim: ‘Consideration and respect for others should characterise the behaviour of Duckites at all times.’
The Boarding House
Frederick Girdlestone (Old Carthusian) founded the House in 1874, having been associated with the school since 1853. He first became the Housemaster of Gownboys and on his move to Girdlestoneites persuaded a dozen Gownboys, including Robert Baden-Powell, to join him in his new House. The ‘Duck’, as he was affectionately known because of his peculiar gait (hence the commonly used name of the House: Duckites), retired in 1912.
Girdlestoneites sits on an island site close to the main teaching buildings. It accommodates approximately sixty boarders with ten girls’ studies. During their first two years boys share double rooms, and from the Fifths (Year 11) they have single rooms. There is a sumptuous Victorian common room (known as the Writing School), a large storage room, a television room and a computer room/library. Matron’s flat is in the heart of the House. The House also has its own kitchen and wood-panelled dining room, donated by Girdlestone as his parting gift.
The House provides a traditional and warm environment for pupils to pursue a wide range of academic interests and extra-curricular activities. We are fortunate to have a loyal and caring house staff and a healthy Old Duckite Association, which holds an annual dinner and offers grants for members of the House to help further their education. The founder would doubtless be proud of the House’s achievements and reputation today.
- FKW Girdlestone 1874-1912
- H Crabtree 1912-1915
- RT Bridge 1915-1930
- EN Lovell 1930-1946
- BC Lee 1946-1960
- JB Marriott 1960-1975
- PG Balkwill 1975-1990
- MJ Bailey 1990-2007
- BP Thurston 2007